ON WHEN NEW YORK CITY WAS NEW YORK CITY I

August 1, 2017

AUGUST 1, 2017

I was born in New York City in 1934 and called it home until 1970. My first 7 years was spent in the north end of Hell’s Kitchen. The next 12 years were spent in an area that is known as Lincoln Center. The final 17 years was spent in Astoria, Queens. In effect, NYC was my home for the first 36 years of my life. This tale is the first of a 2-part series concerned with New York City during that 36 year time period.

 

This first article is concerned with the 1934-1953 time period. The 1953-1970 period will be addressed in a follow-up article early next year. On to this first article.

 

I have often written that following World War II, “anything was possible” in New York City. Nothing would compare to NYC around the middle of the 20th Century. The economy was booming. Its population was primarily comprised of first, not second generation Americans of European extraction, but mostly Irish and Italians and to a lesser degree, Germans, Poles and Greeks. The City was primarily white and Catholic.  The Hamptons were some rich family living on Park Avenue.  The migration from the Caribbean had just begun. The legal drinking age was 18. We had 3 baseball teams.  The Garment District was just that.  A $0.25 toll had been instituted on the Triboro Bridge . . . for maintenance purposes!  McDonalds had arrived on the scene. TV? There was Uncle Miltie, Ed Sullivan, Danny Thomas, and my all-time favorite, Jackie Gleason. My all-time great entertainer, Louie Prima, would soon arrive on the scene. Movies? Pick one. There was also Otto Graham, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Joe D., Willie Mays, George Mikan, etc. The GI Bill – $110 a month to attend college or $50 a week for 52 weeks. 42nd Street was, well…you know. Rockaway Beach had already been officially renamed the Irish Rivera.   The Catskill’s had been reassigned the title “The Jewish Alps” while Astoria, Queens was now a colony of Greeks.  Finally, there was The Beatles, Alan Freed, “Sha Boom,” “Earth Angel,” “Eddie, My Love,” “Mr. Sandman,” and, of course, Billy Joel’s frantic attempt to determine who indeed had started the fire.

 

But, what was life really like in NYC at that time? It would be impossible to squeeze it all into this type of article. But, I do have an earlier unedited 1995 Litmor Publication article titled “On the Stoop” which follows. Hopefully, this is a satisfactory alternative.

 

“ON THE STOOP”

(Down Memory Lane)

My friend, the writer Costas Anifantakis of Searingtown, had this to say about “the stoop” in his Volume II Issue 26, titled – the View from The Stoop:

 

“Using the word ‘stoop’ as a noun is probably unique to Old Gotham. The etymological derivative of the word is lost somewhere in the hustle and bustle of the city’s pubertal period. The brownstone exterior of eight to ten steps, known as the Stoop, might have been adopted from the fact that a pedestrian had to do just that (stoop) to negotiate an upward and forward motion simultaneously, the essence of stair ascension. The stoop served and still serves a few functions. Primarily, it is a simple architectural expedient providing access to an upper entrance to a building. It not only constitutes a convenient place to ‘hang-out,’ but also is an excellent collecting point for the latest gossip. The stoop is a cosmos where one can observe the coiling and uncoiling of the street activity, and lastly, it constitutes an athletic playing field and stickball where kids, with the aid of a pink rubber ball (a Spaldeen) can play stoopball. Stoops come in a few shades of sandstone, varying in steepness-and depth and although each has its own distinct character, they all have one thing in common: an unmatched view of the world flowing by endlessly:”

 

The stoop at 168 West 65th Street (between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway) served as both an observatory tower and conference boardroom for me and the guys – on the south side of 65th Street during the late 1940’s. This area and the area due southwest was once described by Mayor LaGuardia as New York’s worst slum area. That area, just due north of Hell’s Kitchen, was leveled by the nefarious Robert Moses around 1950, to be replaced by what we now call Lincoln Center.

 

Here is what I remember most of the view from our stoop at 168 West 65th Street.

 

  • We lived at 170 West 65th, Street, on the third floor, next door to the stoop. I had only a 10-12 foot walk from our tenement building to the stoop.
  • Directly across the street on the north side of 65th Street was Commerce High School, essentially a non-technical School. It’s still there today.
  • Further east diagonally and adjacent to Commerce High School was the Loew’s theater, later.to be converted to a CBS TV studio. It was here that a number of Jackie Gleason’s 8 pm Saturday night shows were staged. Afternoon programs featured a beautiful and slim singer named Rosemary Clooney.
  • Due east near Broadway on our side of the block was Joe McGrath ‘s father’s bar. It was here that I would stand by the door and watch Buddy Young, Vic Raschi and Mickey Mantle. At age 17, I moved inside and was introduced to a “7 and 7”, AKA Seagram’s Seven Crown and 7-up.
  • Diagonally west across the street (on the northwest corner intersection of 65th and Amsterdam) was one of Con Edison’s generating plants.
  • Around the corner – between 64th and 65th on the east side of Amsterdam was the Open Kitchen restaurant, one of New York’s premier eateries. It featured eleven stools along the counter and three small tables squeezed into a tight space at the end of the counter. My father somehow managed to get us through the depression with this small establishment.
  • Directly across the Street from the Open Kitchen restaurant on the west side of Amsterdam was the Ederle Bros. meat and pork store. Sister Gertrude achieved fame when she became the first woman to swim the English Channel.
  • Further south and west was the “black” neighborhood. This area housed a chicken market (I think it was Kosher) and Ripley’s clothing factory. The bulk of my father’s customers were Ripley employees.
  • There was a gym teacher at Commerce High School that lunched daily at the Open Kitchen. A retired colonel, we all addressed him as Colonel Reutershan. One day, he announced in his deep resonating voice: “George, the future is in chemical engineering. Send Louis to school to get a chemical engineering education.” That’s how and why I became a chemical engineer: I really had no say in the matter. My have times changed.
  • There was a sign on the front door entrance of the Con Edison generating plant that read: Show Your Pass: Every now and then, I would mischievously meander over there at night and cover the letter “P”. Would this be classified as graffiti?
  • The terrors of the neighborhood were the gang from 63rd -Street. They beat me up twice. The first time was real bad. They had asked for my money. I only had 5 cents, but had mistakenly told them I had 15 cents.
  • The stoop’s tenement had been converted to single furnished room apartments. It housed Korean War veterans of Japanese-Hawaiian descent who were attending a dental technician school on the G.I. Bill. I remember it as a scam for both the veterans and the school. Despite this, I have nothing but positive memories of those guys. Almost to a person, they were kind, helpful and sincere people.
  • It was through the same veterans that I was introduced to prostitution, dope and gambling. I believe nearly all of them smoked the weed. Prostitutes came and went at all hours. Blackjack and dice games occurred on occasions; horse betting was a daily ritual. Fortunately, I only got involved with gambling.
  • We often pitched nickels or pennies to a wall or a crack in the sidewalk. One day I won $80, an unheard of sum in those days, pitching quarters to line on the tarred street. This started what I then called the “gambling fund,” and it has somehow managed to survive today.
  • Stickball was played without gloves (some used gloves) with one sewer as home plate and the next sewer as second base. Broomsticks served as bats and a pink spaldeen was the ball. Our team matured in my eighteenth year and I believe we won all but one of our games that summer. There was at least $100 bet on each game and our team rarely could raise more than $25. I usually was the big contributor with $5. The rest of the money was put up by the owner of the stoop’s tenement; he turned a nifty profit that summer.
  • Late one Saturday afternoon, the back door of the CBS TV studio opened and out came a group led by the great one, none other than Jackie Gleason, and Phil Foster, Jackie’s guest that night. They were all stewed to the gills and wanted to play stickball for a couple of bucks. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. It was 6-0 after 2 innings when they retired to the studio.
  • I fell in love with a girl named Patricia Pike; but as the old joke goes, she didn’t know I existed. I still have that effect on people.
  • The block was predominately Puerto Rican, but my best friend was a Cuban named Gustavo Carrion. Gus was the janitor/superintendent of our building. One of his responsibilities was feeding coal to the furnace in the basement. He picked up the nickname “Aqua Caliente” because everyone used to yell for more hot water during the winter months.
  • During the Depression and World War II years, I would go to the restaurant and ask my father for a nickel to go to the movies. I could never quite figure out why some of the other kids couldn’t go because they didn’t have, or couldn’t get, a nickel. Saturday morning was a must for me because of the weekly serial. The one I remember most was “The Adventures of Naomi.” I fell in love with her too.
  • When it came time to level our block, my father’s lawyer couldn’t appear in court to arrange for the settlement from the city for the Open Kitchen restaurant. At my father’s request, I went in his place. The judge awarded my father $750. I started yelling and the judge threatened to throw me in jail. I remember shutting my mouth immediately since I was overcome with fear. Needless to say, the lawyer received a $250 fee, leaving my father with a measly $500 and without his near lifelong business.

 

It was an eerie feeling when I returned to my earlier home and found nothing but empty space and a newly paved sidewalk. The stoop had departed, never to return – yet not to be forgotten. But times have changed and I now live in East Williston, seven miles due east of New York City,  in a house without a stoop.

 

God Bless America!

 

Note: Lincoln Center inhabits the area that housed my stoop. Our address–170 W. 65th Street–is the present address of the Lincoln Center Theatre.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXV

OCTOBER:                 On Newsday’s June Article

NOVEMBER:             On Barack Hussein Obama (Revisited) VI

DECEMBER:             On 2017-2018 Hofstra Men’s Basketball

 


ON THE EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017

Here is my opening paragraph from last year’s newsletter on the budget vote:

“East Williston School District (EWSD) residents are annually requested to vote on a school budget and this year is no exception. Each voting member of the community will have an opportunity to either vote for or against the budget. Every parent, every senior, every taxpayer, and every youngster of voting age should consider voting NO on the budget. Why? Two reasons come to mind:  (A) Waste and (B) Senior Citizen Exploitation.”

 

I then proceeded to provide detailed comments on both above reasons which was followed by detailed proposed solutions to both problems. Guess what?  I not only didn’t hear from anyone but I also received no acknowledgements of my proposal. Isn’t this just great? I’m a taxpayer with no voice. You can thank Kamberg and his brood, Kanas, the teachers, the teachers’ union, and, of course, the pitiful PTO, for this sorry state of affairs. And, let’s not forget that it was the Bergtraum (incompetence)/Israel (greed) era that started the EWSD’s decline.

 

In any event, here’s what’s coming down. Per capita student cost is up (>$36,000). Enrollment is down. Hiring is up. School ranking is down. Student performance is down. College choice for students almost certainly is down. Waste has increased. Senior exploitation has increased. Student/parent exploitation has increased. You want proof? Try to FOIL these parasites in control for information. You’ll get what I got…NOTHING! What a wonderful state of affairs.

 

The community should be aware of the EW Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) 3/22/17 report to the EWSD Board of Trustees. I’ll spare you the details but here are the six FAC’s specific spending recommendations.

 

  1. Adapt recommendations to fund Program, Administration & Capital efficiencies
  2. Develop a framework to measure student achievement/investment
  3. Wages: take steps to continue to limit wage growth
  4. Healthcare: Increase employee contributions/eliminate opt-out
  5. Place a moratorium on contractual lifetime healthcare benefits
  6. Review opportunities to increase non-tax revenue

 

But, here’s the key.  Buried early in the report is “The Board has the responsibility and discretion to implement the FAC’s recommendations.”  Translated into simple English: they can, and will, ignore the recommendations as they have done in the past (I’ll comment on their action next year).

 

Regarding (1), the word efficiency is not in the Board’s vocabulary.  The teachers and their union have always opposed (2). The teachers and their union, the PTA, the Board, and Superintendent Kanas oppose (3). Obviously, the teachers and their union plus their stooges oppose (4) and (5).  Point (6) is a great recommendation that could be implemented by the brain trust in the FAC, but with teachers and their union, the PTA, Superintendent Kanas, and (in particular) the Board, there resides a group that is clueless on business/financial matters. Obviously, not a good situation since the FAC has wasted its time.

 

Here are my comments on reading the FAC report for the year 2017.

 

  • The District’s reputation is understandably on the decline (see later paragraph).
  • Tenure has created many of the problems. These positions should only last 5-years but can be extended if the individual has continued to demonstrate the freshness and enthusiasm of the early years of teaching. You know the teachers would never embrace this recommendation.
  • Need to spend time on converting thoughtless children to caring and thinking individuals.
  • Generate better relationships with students in order for them to maintain lifelong ties to the EWSD.
  • Teacher/community relations are at an all-time low.
  • I believe the rumors that all school boards have adopted illegal practices to undermine the school tax cap.
  • For goodness sake, do something positive about the WASTE.

 

The landscape has changed. My experience suggests that today’s students leave high school more aware of what they want to do and what they hope to accomplish in the future. Nobody I know feels the EWSD is doing enough to adjust to this change.

 

I’ll close with some general thoughts. The EWSD continues to do damage to our community with both excessive waste (particularly at the administration level) and indifference toward the taxpayer (particularly with seniors). Increasing numbers of incoming high school students are opting out of Wheatley in favor of private schools. This “migration” has gone uncontested by the Board-perhaps for good reason. The mode of delivery of education is changing, and changing at a near exponential rate, at all levels – and the EWSD has not attempted to adopt to these changes. I have been involved with several programs that have reduced or essentially eliminated the need for teachers. There is a need for accountability for not only these upstart programs but also for traditional programs such as at Wheatley. Unfortunately, there is little to no accountability at Wheatley. To further exacerbate this point, the EWSD teachers count has increased despite the drop in enrollment. On the positive side, I believe absenteeism has decreased; although there are more cars in the North Side parking lot, there is less of a reduction of cars on Monday and Friday. Finally, I stand by my earlier statements that at least two members of the Board simply cannot be trusted; the Community should not expect them to act in the best interests of the students and taxpayers.

 

You don’t have to believe me regarding much of the above material.  Here is the 4/25/2017 Newsday headline:  “7 LI Schools in the Top 200.”  Guess who didn’t make the top 200 nationally.  Guess who also didn’t make the top 50 statewide (there were 14 LI schools who did).  We also didn’t make the top 100 STEM schools in the state.  These are the FACTS, and the numbers don’t lie.  And yet, many of the uniformed parents refuse to accept that the self-serving EWSD Board, the teachers, the PTA, etc., have failed and betrayed both the students and the community.

 

 

Remember, it’s OK to vote NO on the budget. A NO vote represents a call for better education for our students, fair and responsible treatment of seniors, a call for new leadership for both the Board and the District, and a rejection of the corrupt self-serving policies currently in place.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:                      On Great Eats II

JULY 1:                      On Six Months Later

AUGUST 1:                On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXV

 


THE HOFSTRA 2016-17 SEASON: FINAL ANALYSIS — AND DEFENSE

April 1, 2017

 

 April 1, 2017

 

This month’s article was originally going to be concerned with a summary analysis of Hofstra’s 2016-17 men’s basketball season.  However, I decided, because of the team’s defensive shortcomings, to include some defensive suggestions that will ultimately appear in a later newsletter and the next edition of my BASKETBALL COACHING 101 Book.  In effect, there are two components to this newsletter.  We’ll start with a presentation on the Hofstra analysis.

 

 

HOFSTRA

One could best describe Hofstra’s 2016-17 season with one word: underperformance.  Mary and I sat next to a radio announcer from Northeastern University at the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament in Charlestown during March 4-7.  (Note: A great city to visit).  I believe his evaluation of Hofstra hit the nail on the head.  He excused some of the team’s performance to the loss of three key starters, including the CAA Player of the Year; but then again, they had two excellent guards, two excellent big men (one of whom hardly played), the potential Freshman of the Year is Pennington, and the league’s premier 3-point shooter.  On the other hand, I felt the team would improve with time and hopefully peak during the tournament.  It turns out that they got knocked off in the first round in what I would consider an embarrassing loss; a victory would have resulted in their playing UNCW, the #1 seed.  Almost everybody there in Charleston from the other schools were rooting for Hofstra because they felt that Hofstra had the personnel to beat UNCW.  As we now know, that game did not take place.

 

On to the analysis for the season.  Here are my bullet pointers.

 

  • Once again (as with last year) defense was woefully weak.
  • Once again, bench help was essentially non-existent.
  • Sabathy (the reserve center) was underutilized.
  • Rokas had a disappointing season. His defense play was often missing and also had a poor shooting season.
  • Foreman emerged as a force to be reckoned with the next two years.
  • The loss of Buie could have made a difference.
  • Buie’s contribution the next three seasons is currently a wild card.
  • The club lacked a floor leader.
  • I don’t see a leader emerging next year; this should be potentially worrisome.

 

Here are my bullet pointers for next season.

  • Hire an assistant coach to help reduce/eliminate defensive problems.
  • STOP playing zone; Wisconsin had several players who couldn’t guard one-on-one and yet played a solid man-to-man defense.
  • Recruit players who play stellar defense.
  • Although the team’s goal should be to win games, the ultimate goal is to win the CAA tournament – and that should be reflected in the team’s philosophy and overall preparation during the season.
  • Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.

 

DEFENSIVE STRATEGIES

Here are some earlier comments on defense that appeared in my BASKETBALL COACHING 101 book.”  The author repeatedly told basketball aficionados that defense is 50% of the game.  And every individual has responded with something to the effect: “of course, I (or we) know that’. But really?  Who believes them?  After all, from the first day a player is introduced to basketball, offense has been stressed.   The novice is taught and/or learns how to shoot, dribble, pass, etc.  Defense was almost always an afterthought.  In fact, the author has repeatedly claimed that it is great guards that get a team to a championship game, but it is great defensive guards that win championships.  It is their ability to create havoc on the opponent’s offense that makes the difference.”

 

“How important is defense?  Here is a case in point.  Stevie Mejia served as the point (or 1) guard for the 2012-2013 Hofstra team.  Some in press row commented on several occasions that Stevie wasn’t playing to his full potential.  What they were referring to was his scoring.  Yet during the season, he stopped the star guards Scott Machado and Michael Alvarado of Iona and Manhattan College, respectively, COLD!  These two players were projected first-round and second-round picks, respectively.  Interestingly, Hofstra lost three games during the 2013-2014 season because of an inability to stop the star guard of the opposing team.”

 

Since I’m ranting and raving about defense, here are a baker’s dozen on some defensive suggestions that did not appear earlier in my book BASKETBALL COACHING 101.  I hope to expand this material and add new offensive suggestions in a later newsletter.

 

  • Need an assistant coach who can teach defense.
  • Need to recruit (great) defensive plays.
  • Need to play defensive players.
  • Can’t allow the opposing offense an offensive rebound on a foul shot.
  • Box out when a shot goes up, even if one has to resort to grabbing.
  • Keep defensive scoring statistics for each player.
  • Continuously stress the importance of defense.
  • Continuously stress the importance of intensity on defense.
  • Practice double teaming.
  • Never allow the opposing offense to setup for the last play.
  • Know who to foul at the end of a game.
  • Anyone slacking off on defense gets substituted for immediately.
  • Place one’s best defender on the opponent’s best scorer at the end of the game.

 

I hope this helps some young (perhaps not-so-young) aspiring coaches.

 

And, what about offense?  This is a topic that will also be unveiled and addressed in both a later article and the next edition.  Forget about the “triangle offense” that is more confusing than it is nearly impossible to implement; I can’t figure it out.  My interest will primarily be on “my umbrella offense” that is certain to revolutionize the offenses of those teams with forward-thinking coaches.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

MAY 1:                       On the EWSD Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Great Eats II

JULY 1:                      On Six Months Later

AUGUST 1:                On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXV

 


ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE, AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXIV

February 1, 2017

 

February 1, 2017

 

No one has recently requested my thoughts on life in general.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.  Notwithstanding this embarrassing dilemma, I am forging ahead with a host of points of potential interest to the Newsletter readers.  However before proceeding, I need to bring one interesting fact to those with interests in the U.S. economy.

 

Here is a list of the percentage of recent past president’s cabinets who had previously worked in the private sector:

 

FDR            50%         Eisenhower       57%

Truman        50%         Nixon               53%

Kennedy      30%         Ford                 42%

Johnson       47%         Reagan             56%

Carter          32%         G. H. Bush       51%

Clinton         39%         G. W. Bush      55%

Obama        8%           Trump              ??

 

The left column are/were Democrats.  Is the difference statistically significant?  You be the judge.  Obama never worked for a corporation, never really had a job, and his cabinet came primarily (92%) from academia, governmental “non-profit” groups, and community organizers.  Perhaps this explains our nation’s current economic state of affairs.

 

Back to the standard one-liners; here’s 2 dozen of them.

 

  1. Watching cable news has been pure entertainment since the election. The liberals are a comedy group but, I’ll say this – and this may sound like Michelle – I’ve never felt more proud of our country.
  2. The liberal media continues to berate and insult Trump. They can’t find anything right/good about him.  After all, he is going to reduce health care costs, eliminate sanctuary cities, address the anarchy dilemma, help solve infrastructure problems, etc.
  3. I hope this Administration will somehow pass an Amendment to the Constitution that will require that voters possess reasonable intelligence, be aware of current events, and speak, read, and understand English.
  4. Hopefully, disdain (and perhaps hatred) for the working class, military, and police will come to an end with Trump as president.
  5. Which three states have more people on welfare than they do employed? [If you guessed California, Illinois, and New York, you would be right. Surprise, surprise.]
  6. I shudder to think what would have happened to our country without Rupert Murdoch, Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, and even Roger Ailes.
  7. Megan Kelly turns me off – big time.
  8. Do I have this right? Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) is attempting to release those in jail who were planning to kill me.
  9. The inauguration was truly a sight to see. We are all so blessed to live in the USA.
  10. My parents worked hard for their money. I worked hard (well, sort of… remember, I’m a teacher) for my money.  No one gave us anything.  Why am I now being asked to provide health care and education for people who do not want to work and/or have no legal right to be here?
  11. I sell and bill myself as the foremost environmental authority in the world. (Modesty isn’t my middle name.) I can tell one and all that Al Gore’s preaching on global warming is a scam. His/the proposed carbon tax would bankrupt our nation.
  12. Forget about the fact that both the Hill and Bubba are involved in criminal enterprises. BOTH ARE TRAITORS!
  13. Seven years ago, I wrote: “Despite his shortcomings, rooting for Obama is appropriate because we are Americans.  Let’s not carry on like the Bush haters.”
  14. World Series play in freezing weather is both insane and a disgrace.
  15. Advertisements abound that make the white male look like a fool.
  16. I’m still trying to get Jack Powers into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
  17. My latest undertaking is to write a book about optimization – a subject I know absolutely nothing about.
  18. Football, with its concussion dilemma, is a dying sport.
  19. Perhaps mankind’s greatest miracle occurred when Churchill chose (like the people of Greece) not to submit to the Nazi “hurricane.”
  20. I’m still on a diet that will be “featured” next month
  21. Hopefully, Trump will stop the lies, the deceit, the manipulations, etc., in government and will finally be replaced by the transparency BHO promised 8 years ago.
  22. Good riddance to Meg Kelly at Fox. She’s a flaming liberal masquerading as a moderate.
  23. Geraldo Rivera has joined my 20 $ club. I’m prepared to pay 20 $ to put my left shoe up his rear end.  He’s another flaming liberal masquerading as a moderate.  Even worse, he is a totally full of horse manure guy.  His conduct during the inauguration was disgusting.
  24. I’ve had multiple requests for a follow-up on my earlier article titled “On Great Eats.”

 

Is that it?  Not quite.  Earlier, I got to see BHO’s “Farewell” address in Chicago where he teary-eyed and blatantly lied non-stop about his (and Michelle’s and Biden’s) accomplishments over the past 8 years; he chose not to mention the carnage that occurs in his home city of Chicago and hundreds of thousands that died in the Middle East due to his deficient policies.  He took time to, once again, lecture us, and then frantically attempted to rewrite history before the historians set his legacy of numerous massive failures in stone.  Unfortunately, he won’t go away and will continue to attempt to undermine our new president.  His last actions involved releasing hundreds of drug dealers, traitors and societal misfits.  What a guy!

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

MARCH 1:                  On the Ideal Diet—That Works

APRIL 1:                     Hofstra Basketball 2017 Revisited

MAY 1:                       On the EWSD Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                       On Great Eats II

 


ON THE 2016-17 HOFSTRA BASKETBALL SEASON

January 1, 2017

 

 

January 1, 2017

 

Thanksgiving and Christmas is now a near distant memory.  What’s the significance?   It primarily means one thing for basketball buffs in the Nassau County area: the 2016-17 Hofstra basketball season is now in full swing.

 

Every year, at about this time, I introduce the readers to Hofstra’s men’s basketball team and start the prediction process for the season.  This year is no different – so here goes…

 

I begin with some comments about last year’s team.  There were concerns, hopes, and expectations: third year Coach Joe Mihalich was back with a team that featured Juan‘ya Green and Ameen Tanksley – the two Niagara University transfers and Brian Bernardi, plus power forward Princeton transferee Denton Koon and second year center Rokas Gustys.  So what happened?  They had a great season, winning the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association).  The CAA tournament was up for grabs and I felt they had a chance to win it and earn a berth in the NCAA tournament.  We were at the CAA tournament during March 4 -7 at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore when they ran out of gas (as I had predicted earlier) in the championship game.  Nonetheless, it was a pleasant vacation and an exciting four days.  This year’s tournament is scheduled in Charleston, S.C., and it is currently on our radar screen.

 

Three of last year’s super starting five are gone.  As a former educator, I’m always interested in the disposition of the players once they graduate.  It was tough getting straight answers this year but this is what I know at this point in time: Koon is playing somewhere in Europe, with Green and Tanksley playing (I hope) in the NBA Developmental League.

 

This year’s team?  Here is my analysis at the time of the posting of this article (December 25).  The loss of last year’s BIG three was indeed BIG – the two top scorers (including Player of the Year Green) and the power forward.  The team had a decent recruiting year.  (Note: Every team claims they had a great recruiting year, so I no longer believe these press releases.)  Notable additions include Deron Power (Hampton transfer), Eli Pemberton (freshman), Hunter Sabety (Tufts transfer), and Ty Greer (Daytona State transfer).  Notable returnees – in addition to Gustys and Bernardi – include Desure Buie (out for year), Justin Wright-Foreman, and Jamall Robinson.  Are there any concerns?  Should there be concerns?  The answer is YES.  The team is presently in a developmental stage and only time will tell to what degree they will develop and improve.  They have demonstrated an ability to score – sometime almost at will, 8but the defense is still somewhat porous.  For example, they were unable to adjust and negate St. Bonaventure’s two excellent guards during an earlier loss.  And, to compound this problem, the team continues to primarily play zone defense.  On the positive side is that Coach Mihalich is playing 8 players, so fatigue will not be a problem this season.
More on this year’s personnel.  All the noise is about freshman Eli Pemberton.  Mihalich claims he will have a super career at Hofstra.  An NBA scout told me that Pemberton’s number will be hanging from the rafters at the end of his collegiate career.  He is a great scorer but (contrary to Mihalich’s comments) is short on speed and defense–but I have been wrong many times in the past.  I believe that Hofstra’s hopes this year lie with two others.  Powers is the fastest guard I have seen in years–he is grease lightening.  What an absolute great addition to the backcourt.  Ty Greer is listed at 6’6” but I think is 6’8” tall (and growing?) with a long wingspan and tremendous leaping ability.  He’s the sleeper.  However, I have repeatedly claimed that it is great guards that get a team to a championship game, but it is great defensive guards that get you to the Promised Land; i.e., win a championship.  I’m not sure that Mihalich has someone to fill that role.  Bottom line: this may be Hofstra’s year.  Then again, it may turn out to be a rebuilding season for a host of reasons.

 

Attending Hofstra games for me still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area; its’s even cheaper than going to the movies.  There is ample free parking, easy access in and out of the Mack Sports Complex, the concession stands are not a rip-off ($3.50 for a dog, $3.00 for a soda, etc.), and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.  Did I mention that its $6 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance?  I don’t think this is an exaggeration, but almost every home game last year turned out to be a thriller.  It was raw excitement.  Share it with someone you care about.

 

In the meantime, my Basketball Coaching 101 book is still out in the marketplace at either amazon.com or createspace.com for $17.95.  It makes an excellent New Year’s/post-Christmas gift.  Consider buying the book – I really do need the royalty money to help subsidize my gambling habits.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

FEBRUARY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIV

MARCH 1:                 On the Ideal Diet—That Works

 

 


ELECTION DAY 2016

October 31, 2016

 

November 1, 2016

 

JANUARY, 2009:  “…I promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States…”.  January, 2013:  “…I promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States…”.  So spoke Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) on those two occasions.  JANUARY 2017:  Who will utter these same words?  And, which of the two candidates, unlike Barack Hussein Obama, is more likely to honor that promise?  Interestingly, BHO also promised the electorate (twice) a transparent Administration, to abide by the rule of law, and to eliminate corruption.  How many readers feel BHO honored these promises?  And, which of the candidates is more likely to …

 

Election Day will arrive in a week.  There are two facts the voters in New York State should be aware of:  most individuals have already made up their mind as to who they will support, and (unfortunately?) their vote will not count since the liberal-leaning electorate will once again insure the Democratic candidate will win.  Despite this, I feel obligated to briefly discuss eleven points that should be of concern to the voters.

 

  1. Election Integrity. The present Administration has used the federal court system to block

and/or overturn those states attempting to strengthen and maintain election integrity.  I seem to remember problems in Philadelphia with the Black Panthers during Election Day 2008 that the Administration ignored.  I believe the election laws should be expanded to require only those demonstrating a reasonable knowledge of current affairs be allowed to vote.  I also believe Trump represents a significant danger to career politicians (and the mainstream media).  And what about the government’s bribes via all the welfare programs (phones, food, free education and healthcare, citizen eligibility, etc.).  Seems our elected officials only seem concerned with their party and the next election.  I just wish that, as recently reported, engineers and scientists have “perfected” lie detector systems.  Can you imagine the effect this would have on BHO, Hillary, Bubba, lawyers, and others of their ilk?

 

  1. Illegal Immigration. The current Administration seems more concerned about illegal immigrants and criminals than law-abiding citizens.  Letting illegal immigrants into the country hurts the economy, drives down wages for lower and middle class workers, increases homeland risks, and brings about change to our country.

 

  1. Global Warming. Scientific and engineering data/information is important.  Conclusions reached by those scientists and engineers whose career and livelihood depend on the need for a global warming to exist is just plain insane.  Approximately 80% of my colleagues in the environmental field with no axe to grind believe there is no certainty that this is a man-made problem.  In effect, it is a scam begin perpetrated by BHO, liberals, Democrats and fanatical environmentalists.  What I do believe is that good things will happen to jobs, our economy, etc., if we allow the country to move to energy independence if there is greater reliance on fossil fuels.

 

  1. I need to personalize this.  There is no need for the working class to pay the health insurance for those who refuse to work or are in the country illegally.  Our insurance rates have gone up dramatically and we are receiving less coverage.  Furthermore, talk to any small business owner and they will tell you that Obamacare is a detriment to business success.  This plan is a perfect example of what happens when governments get into the business of business-related activities.

 

  1. Safety and Security. Appease, appease, and appease, has created massive safety and security problems.  Black Lives Matter has significantly and senselessly worsened race relations.  So has BHO.  Implementing stronger gun control laws will only drive the evil-doers to bombs, chemicals, nuclear options, etc.   The Dallas Cop Massacre by a sniper resulted in BHO blaming the criminal justice system.  The confrontational conduct of blacks has created the so-called “police” problem.  And, the immigration problem and Obama’s senseless early release of hardened criminals has only exacerbated the issue.

 

  1. Government Overreach. Czars?  Executive fiat?  What’s happened to our government and constitution?  BHO has redefined the residency status of millions and negotiated arms control treaties.  It is fair to say that “the legislative authority necessarily predominates.  The other two branches of government should come to grips with this statement”.  Unfortunately, we can expect more of the same with either Trump or Hillary. I believe excessive executive action and executive fiat was simply not in the thoughts of our forefathers.  Bypassing Congress was also not in the cards.  And, ignoring the Consititution – “…the laws be forcefully executed…” – was also not in their thoughts.  Controversial executive actions have been the rule with the present Administration.  Unfortunately, there are those who are committed to changing America although it appears no change is needed.  The Constitution designed a system where conflicts could be resolved by debate(s), and where the decisions of the majority would prevail.  And, here’s something to ponder:  Why does our government have trouble finding documents, delays turning over files and information, and even refuses to turn over files?  Does the promise of transparency BHO promised come into play here?

 

  1. Economic Turnaround. It’s simple.  Unleash our fossil fuel reserves and the economy will indeed turn around.  This includes both coal and fracking.  We have it in our power to release our near unlimited fossil fuel reserves.  However, I really doubt Trump’s claims that jobs overseas will return.  One thing is for certain:   There is nothing that can beat democracy, capitalism, and free enterprise; I’m living proof of this statement since I was born and raised in the slums of New York City.   The liberal’s welfare program (starting with FDR) has successfully lured the vulnerable into a lifetime of dependency via entitlement programs, stranding them in a misery from which there is no escape.  These policies have allowed the liberals to accommodate the vulnerable at the expense of society while moving toward a government with near unlimited power.

 

  1. Foreign Policy. O’Reilly said it best: “Aggressive conduct, if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war.”  HBO’s three words describe the foreign policy of BHO and Hillary: failure, failure, and yes, more failure.  Both are not aware of history and both can’t seem to do anything right.  They just appear to be wrong nearly every time and on nearly every issue.  Here’s my summary of their performance:  bumbling, mishandling, total incompetence, and blatent insanity.  We are the world’s last and only hope: evil exists in the world and only a benevolent superpower will be able to contain BHO’s JV team and their ilk.  These two appear willing to accept slaughter, mass graves, etc.  There will be disastrous consequences associated with American weakness.  War is hell but peace can be significantly worse.  Something for those like BHO with a Neville Chamberlain mentality to think about.

 

  1. Un-American Activities. I’m a Greek-American…and proud of it.  But I am an American first.  I love my country and am lucky to be an American.  But, many of my friends, colleagues, and relatives don’t feel as I do.  They simply do not fit into my standard of what I would describe as an American.  For me, Barack Hussein Obama is not an American.  Neither is Hillary.  Or Reid.  Or Pelosi.  Or…We do not need a change in government – what we desperately need is a change in the mentality of those elected to serve us.  We do not need Bubba and Hillary (two thoroughly rotten individuals) involved in government.  We do not need Comey – a BHO hack, running the FBI.  We do not need Lynch – another BHO hack, running the Justice Department (remember her ½ hour meeting with Bubba on a plane?).  I remember BHO describing Lynch as “tough, fair and independent” your author would describe her as “unfair, biased and another BHO stooge”.  It might help if some (if not all) of the above be required to periodically take lie detector tests.  We know for certain that BHO, Hillary and Bubba readings would be off the charts.

 

  1. The Police. For me, the only reason our great nation has not plunged into chaos and anarchy is, simply put, the police.  Unlike elected officials, democrats, and fanatical liberals, the police have stood rock solid in terms of their principles, and refused to buy in to this PC mania and liberal media insanity.  The police can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.  I’m certain a cop will never shoot me because if stopped, I will not be confrontational.  And, another thing, I won’t be carrying a gun.  Bottom line:  stop being confrontational and do not carry a gun and the shootings of blacks by cops will end.  And so, who do you think will support our last defense against anarchy?

 

  1. The Media. There is an organized conspiracy to derail Trump.  And, it’s not just the media.  It’s Hollywood, TV, radio, the Democrats, the Republicans, the White House, plus Obama, Hillary and Bubba and their accomplices, labor, fanatical feminists, the U.N., fanatical environmentalists, Black activists, academia . . . the list goes on.  It is affectively, David against Goliath, or, even better, Trump against the world.  How is this possible when over 40% of the electorate support Trump?  If it’s not a conspiracy, then what is it?  You want proof?  Just check the headlines of The New York Times on a daily basis.  Folks, our government and our country has succumbed to corruption—there’s a cesspool in Washington, D.C. and “things” are rigged; the three keystones and backbone of oversight set up by our forefathers through the media, FBI, and attorney general have disappeared.

 

If there is to be a twelfth issue, it would be labeled remaining issues and would be concerned with qualities our next leader should possess.  Here’s my eight-point list.

 

  1. Understand how to run basic business and apply economic principles in order to efficiently run the government.
  2. Have a track record of pristine personal conduct.
  3. Have a track record of pristine financial conduct.
  4. Approach the immigration issue according to law with compassion without cheating the Latino community.
  5. Understand the role of America in foreign policy.
  6. Be prepared to essentially gut the present healthcare plan and replace it with a sound, intelligent program that is cost-effective to working Americans.
  7. Put an end to this nonsense about a “war on women”.
  8. Understand the need to stop the rampant lying of manipulation and cheating that has permeated both our government and society.

 

What’s the bottom line?  I would vote for Putin or one of the Ayatollahs before voting for Hillary…voting for Hillary is simply insane.  When the Republican primary started, I had Carson on top and Trump 17th.  If there were another primary today, I would have Trump on top.   He is the man – our only hope for a return to traditional American values.  This election is about those who really DO love our country and those who DON’T.  In the final analysis, WikiLeaks proved beyond a doubt that Trump’s claims about Hillary and Bubba were true . . . and, it appears that 50% of the electorate—some of whom have IQs to match their age—plan to base their vote on hearsay comments from Trump’s past rather than their (and their loved one’s) future.  And, it is just a matter of time before everyone will realize that corruption reigns at every level of government-including the once untouchables that include the aforementioned Attorney General and the FBI.

 

Visit the author on his Facebook page @ Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:  (tentative):

 

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2016-17 Hofstra Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIV

FEBRUARY 1:          On the Ideal Diet—That Works.

 

 


ON THE OHI DAY IV

October 1, 2016

 

 

A QUESTION!  Here’s a question for those in my reading audience who consider themselves history buffs.  What was the turning point during World War II that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany?  For some, it was Churchill’s resolute stand against Hitler’s blitz of England during the early stages of the war.  For others, it was the unforgettable door-to-door battle during the successful defense of Stalingrad.  And who can forget Montgomery’s date with destiny against Rommel in North Africa at El Alamein.  But for me, there is the one event that stood above them all.  And, that’s what this short revisit to the Fall of 1940 is all about.

 

I would be remiss not to mention that, on October 28th, Greece and all Greek-Americans will celebrate the OHI Day.  “OHI” is the Greek word for an emphatic NO!  This October 28th marks the 76th anniversary of Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas’ courageous refusal to submit to Fascist Nazi Germany occupation demands of Greece during World War II.  Against far superior military power and insurmountable odds, the proud Greek nation resisted the Axis power, delayed their advance, and ultimately changed the tide of the war.  This special day pays tribute to a very special nation with a very special group of individuals during a period of time many have either knowingly or unknowingly chosen to forget.

 

My first article on the OHI Day was written 11 years ago, and what I had to say then still applies today.  Here is that unedited article.

 

“I was baptized Elias Theodorakos since it is the Greek custom to name the first son after the paternal Papou (grandfather).  Within a few years, the name Elias (our first grandson is named Elias) was displaced by Louis, its American counterpart.  In second grade, my immigrant parents were told by several public school teachers that it would be in the best interest of the family to Americanize the last name.  The name was soon legally changed to Theodore.  Although I am an American first I remain proud of my Hellenic roots. And, it is for this reason that this short piece was written.

 

The media, novels, movies, television (particularly the History Channel), documentaries, etc., have done a superb job of educating the younger genera­tion about the background and struggles of World War II.  The battle for Britain and the defense of Stalingrad are two examples that come to mind, as well as the continuing, repetitive and perhaps overdone coverage of the horrors of the holocaust. But there has been little to nothing about the role Greece played on the events and final outcome of the war.

 

On to the theme of this article.  The 65th anniversary of the repulsion of fascist forces by the Greek Armed Forces was recently celebrated several weeks ago on October 28.  (The day came and went without a whimper here in the United States.)  The Greeks refer to this as the OHI (no!) Day.  OHI was Prime Minister Metaxas’s response to Hitler’s order to peacefully surrender.  What followed Metaxas’s response to Hitler was 219 days of fierce battles.  That in turn was followed by intense guerrilla warfare that resulted in a bru­tal occupation that included executions, sufferings, famine, and severe infla­tion.  The rest is now history for some people and all Greeks.

 

For comparison purposes, the days of resistance of the various combatants to the Nazi-Fascist invasion are listed below:

 

  1. Belgium                             18
  2. Czechoslovakia                 0
  3. Denmark                             0
  4. France                                43 (the supposed superpower of that time)
  5. Greece                              219 (13,696 Greek soldiers died)
  6. Luxembourg                       0
  7. Norway                                 7
  8. Poland                                 30
  9. The Netherlands                4
  10. Yugoslavia                            3

 

The total number of human losses in percentage of total population are also listed below.

 

  1. Belgium                                 5%
  2. France                                    0%
  3. Greece                                    0%  (750,000)
  4. Poland                                    8%
  5. Soviet Union                         8%
  6. The Netherlands                  2%
  7. Yugoslavia                              7%

 

Here is what some of the more important players of that time had to say (citations available on request) about the heroic Greek accomplishments against the armies of not only Germany but also the armies of Italy, Bulgaria and Albania.

 

Adolph Hitler: “As a matter of historical truth, I must ascertain that only the Hellenes, of all the adversaries that confronted me, fought with daring courage and the highest disregard to death… ”

 

Sir Robert Anthony Eden: “Regardless what historians will say in the future, what we can say now is that Hellas gave a memorable lesson to Mussolini, that she was the reason of the resistance in Yugoslavia, that she kept the Germans on the soil of Ipiros and Crete for 6 weeks, that she changed the chronological order of all of the German Major Generals’ plans and, thus, brought about a general alteration in the entire war’s journey and we won.”

 

Sir Winston Churchill: “The word heroism, I’m afraid, does not reflect in the least the Hellenes’ acts of self-sacrifice that were the defining factor of the victorious ending of all the nations’ common struggle during the 2nd WW for human freedom and dignity.”

“If it were not for the bravery of the Hellenes and their courageous hearts, the ending of the 2nd WW would not have been clear.”

“Until now we were saying that Hellenes fight like heroes. Now we will say: Heroes fight like Hellenes.”

‘The Hellenes” in fighting against the common enemy will share with us in the prosperity of peace.”

 

Charles DeGaulle: “I fail to give the most needed gratitude that I feel for the heroic resistance of the people and the leaders of Hellas.”

 

Maurice Schumann (French Minister of Foreign Affairs): “Hellas is the symbol of martyric, enslaved, bleeding, but live Europe.  Never has a defeat been so honorable for those who underwent it.”

 

Josef Stalin: “I’m sad because I’m getting old and I will not live much longer to express my gratitude to the Hellenic people whose resistance deter­mined the 2nd WW.”

 

Moscow Radio Station: “You fought without weapons and you won, being small before the great ones. We owe you gratitude, because you bought time and, thus, we could arm ourselves. As Russians and as fellow humans, we thank you.”

 

Georgy Joucov (Marshall of the Soviet Army): “If the Russian people man­aged to raise resistance before the gates of Moscow, to contain and reverse the German hurricane, they owe it to the Hellenic people who delayed the German divisions that could have beaten us. The gigantic battle of Crete was the peak of the Hellenic contribution.”

 

Benito Mousolini (Prime Minister of Italy): “… the war in Greece proved that anything can be shattered, with respect to the military, and that sur­prises always await us.”

 

King George VI (Great Britain): “The great struggle of Hellas was the first big detour for the 2nd WW.”

 

Sir Harold Alexander (British Marshall): “It would not be an exaggeration to say that Hellas overturned all the German plans forcing Germany to delay for 6 weeks its attack on Russia. We ask ourselves what would have been the position of the Soviet Union without Hellas.”

 

Franklin Roosevelt: “For Hellas there was granted a delay of 3 hours on the 28th of October 1940 so that she can decide on war or peace, but, even if a delay of 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 years was granted, the answer would have been the same.”

“The Hellenes have taught dignity throughout the centuries (history). When the entire world had lost all hope, the Hellenic people dared to doubt the German monster’s invincibility fighting back with the proud spirit of freedom.”

“The heroic struggle of the Hellenic people against the German attack, having so thunderously won the Italian attempt to invade the Hellenic soil, filled the American hearts with enthusiasm and won their sympathy.  A cen­tury and a half earlier during the war of independence, our nation expressed its fiery sympathy for the Hellenes and was hoping for the Hellenic victory.”

 

OHI day serves as another tribute to all Greeks, including Greek-Americans. Following the War of Independence in 1812 when the brutal uncivilized Turks were defeated, the immigration of Greeks to America began in earnest.  (The Turks had pillaged, looted, persecuted, and enslaved the Greeks for four centuries)  Nearly one tenth of the total population – including my parents – immi­grated to our country during the period 1821-1934.

 

Through it all, Greece has remained the fountainhead of culture and democracy throughout the free world. Despite lacking the political and media clout of other ethnic groups, Greek-Americans have evolved into a suc­cess story that has become a best-kept secret. They have contributed might­ily to our great nation. They rank second only to the American Jews in per capita wealth but first in percent who have earned doctoral degrees.

 

Yep, I still get that special feeling when someone refers to me as a Greek-American.

 

Note: Thanks are due my first cousins Helen Lake Anton and Harry Lake, aka Apostolakos, for providing some of the background material for this arti­cle. Helen was stationed in Greece during part of her C1A career Harry serves on the National Board of Directors and is Finance Chairman of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association).”

 

 

POSTSCRIPT:  The heroism of Greek fighters during WWII is legendary and is often cited in OHI Day celebrations.  What receives less attention outside of Greece, however, is the fact that Greek women themselves often joined the fight in ways that give testament to the strength of Greek women through history.  The Washington OXI Day Foundation aims to remind the world of that bravery.  Each year, their Battle of Crete award “honor(s) a woman for courageous action for freedom and democracy, in memory of the role women played against the Axis Forces in the Battle of Crete in World War II.”  In reprisal for their bravery: in battle; in hiding and caring for wounded fighters; in smuggling arms and messages when they knew that discovery meant certain death; nearly 1,000 Cretan women were killed by the Nazis, and the London Times reported that an additional 500 women were deported to Germany for taking part in the defense of their island.  Even with their lives and freedom at risk, the women of Crete demonstrated bravery and commitment to the cause of freedom and democracy.  Their actions will hopefully inspire generations of women to come.  It was also reported that when every man was needed for fighting, Greek women brought supplies and ammunition up the mountainsides – 80 pound packs on their backs up 3,000 foot peaks.  Let there be no mistake – beyond their skills and assistance on the field – the mere survival of these women during the war was a feat in and of itself.

 

The Washington OXI Day Foundation video provides a powerful and inspirational tribute both commemorating the day and inspiring all to be a courageous society and virtuous during times of crisis.

 

The link: http://www.oxidayfoundatino.org/video-world-leaders-praise-greek-courage/

 

Enjoy this great moment in history.

 

Visit the author on his Facebook page @ Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:  (tentative):

 

NOVEMBER 1:         On “THE” Election

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2016-17 Hofstra Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             One Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIV